NEW YORK — In response to President Donald Trump’s plans to host a “Catholics for Trump” rally in Wisconsin next week, the archbishop of Milwaukee has clarified that the rally is neither sponsored by the Catholic Church at a local level nor a national level.

“The event is not hosted by the Catholic Church nor the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the local church of southeastern Wisconsin,” said Archbishop Jerome Listecki in a statement on Wednesday.

“The Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee are not endorsing the rally and are in no way affiliated to or sponsoring this event or campaign locally, statewide, or nationally,” he continued.

Reports of the rally first emerged earlier this week with news that the president would attend a rally next Tuesday at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee.

In his statement, the archbishop said that while Catholics are encouraged to participate in political life, the Church is not a political organization.

“As Catholics, we bring the richness of our faith to the public square. Catholic citizens are encouraged by the Church to participate in public life and contribute to the common good, including through the political process of our country,” he wrote.

“However, I would like to take this opportunity to remind the Faithful that the Catholic Church is not a political organization, nor is it politically affiliated. The mission of the Church is religious, not political. For reasons that are both theological and legal, the Church’s involvement in public life does not extend to endorsing candidates for election to public office nor calling for their defeat,” the archbishop continued.

The president’s planned rally comes at a time when health officials have cautioned against holding large-scale events in an attempt to contain the spread of the global pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus.

On Tuesday, both the campaigns of Democratic primary candidates Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden canceled plans for rallies that were originally to be held after six states held their primary voting contests.

Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the president’s response to the coronavirus, has said that the president would make decisions “on a day-to-day basis” as to whether he will continue to hold large scale gatherings.

As for the ‘Catholics for Trump” gathering, Listecki said that “the Catholic Church seeks to uphold and protect justice, equality, human rights, and care for God’s creation through ethical and moral decision-making.”

“The manner in which Catholics vote is entirely guided by a well-formed conscience, a well-informed mind, and a prayerful disposition guided by the Holy Spirit,” he concluded.

Follow Christopher White on Twitter: @cwwhite212 

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